In a hurry? Liver delivers

COOKING FOR TWO

Entree: Liver makes a speedy meat option, but use it soon after purchase.

In The Kitchen

February 17, 2002|By Bev Bennett | Bev Bennett,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

If you've forgotten when you last prepared liver, it's time to fix it again. Liver is one of the fastest-cooking meats you could serve. When you've got to get dinner on the table in 15 minutes or less, liver will deliver.

Unfortunately, liver is one of the less popular meat cuts and may be difficult to find in all supermarkets. However, you can order liver with a day's advance. Ask that the meat be cut about a half-inch thick. It should be tender to the touch, not pulpy or mushy.

Liver is very perishable and will have a limited "use-by" date. Buy and cook it the same day. When cooking, avoid high heat or a long cooking time or you'll have green-tinged shoe leather for dinner.

Preheat your skillet. Add liver and brown 1 minute per side to lock in the juices. Add flavorful liquids for a sauce and briefly simmer. That's all there is to it. In the following recipe, port, vermouth and balsamic vinegar blend together to make a rich and slightly tangy coating. Red pearl onions add a delicious sweet flavor.

Rum-accented sweet potatoes are a robust accompaniment to the liver. If you're not in a hurry, oven-bake the potato to concentrate the sugars; otherwise cook it in the microwave.

Distributed by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate International, a division of Tribune Media Services.

Liver And Onions

Makes 2 servings

12 red pearl onions

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

one 4-inch sprig fresh rosemary

one 12-ounce slice beef liver, sliced 1/2 inch thick

2 tablespoons dry vermouth

2 tablespoons port

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Bring small pan of water to boil. Add onions and cook over medium heat 5 minutes. Drain and peel.

Heat oil in medium skillet. Add onions, garlic and rosemary and sautM-i over medium heat 2 minutes. Add liver and brown 1 minute per side.

Remove liver from skillet. Add vermouth, port and vinegar and cook over high heat 1 minute while scraping up browned bits from skillet. Reduce heat to low. Stir in salt and pepper. Return liver to skillet and simmer 5 minutes or until liver is cooked through, basting with pan juices.

To serve, cut liver into 2 portions and arrange on 2 plates. Top with pan juices and onions. Serve immediately.

Mashed sweet potatoes

Makes 2 servings

1 12-ounce sweet potato

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 tablespoon dark rum or apple juice

Salt, pepper

Pierce sweet potato in several places. Place on sheet of heavy-duty foil. Bake at 400 degrees 1 hour or until tender.

Or, instead, place sweet potato in microwave oven and microwave on High (100 percent power) 8 minutes or until tender, turning over after 4 minutes.

Remove potato from oven and peel. Place sweet potato in small pan and mash. Beat in butter, nutmeg, rum and salt and pepper to taste. Reheat if necessary.

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